What is Employer Branding? 5 Things That Define Your Brand
If you’re struggling to recruit, you’re not alone. Hiring has gotten harder in recent years, and two-thirds of hiring managers say that they struggle to track down suitable candidates.
But what if you didn’t have to seek out candidates? What if candidates came to you?
This is the goal of employer branding: to make people aware of the fact that your company is a great place to work. If you can build a strong employer brand, candidates will trip over themselves to apply to your vacancies.
What is an employer brand?
When we think of consumer brands, we often think about logos and marketing campaigns. But a brand is defined by everything that happens between you and the customer, including media coverage, online reviews, and word of mouth. As economist Sergio Zyman puts it:
“A brand is essentially a container for a customer’s complete experience with the product or company."
Employer brands work in the same way, but with the experience of candidates and employees. Every interaction—from the way you market vacancies to word-of-mouth reports from current employees—plays a part in the employer brand.
A strong consumer brand makes it easier to sell. A strong employer brand makes it easier to hire.
5 elements of your Employer Brand
If you want to build a positive employer brand, you first must understand the elements that contribute to that brand. Here are five tangible elements that influence your employer branding
When candidates are researching your company, the first thing they will do is look at your online presence. This includes:
- Main website: They will visit here to learn more about your culture and goals. They might also try to learn about your commitment to sustainability, Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), or social responsibility.
- Social media: Social media feels like a conversation, so it’s important to have the right tone of voice here. Often, social media is where candidates form their first impression of your organizational culture.
- Job portal: Some organizations have a dedicated careers site with an integrated application process. One big advantage of a job portal is that you can control your employer branding at a crucial stage: the candidate’s initial application.
Press and online coverage
Of course, you can’t control everything that people say about your company. You might find yourself mentioned in:
- Reviews and testimonials: Sites like Glassdoor allow past and present employees to share their experiences, including salary information.
- Customer reviews: Online customer reviews can have an effect on your employer branding too. Candidates are attracted to companies that have a good reputation and happy customers.
- Press reports: Media outlets may write about your company and its activities. They might also cover high-profile staff members, such as the CEO or a public-facing representative.
You can’t control this coverage, but you can be aware of it. It’s a good idea to set up Google alerts to let you know if your company has been mentioned anywhere online.
Your current employees can be your best recruiters. When employees feel happy and supported by their employer, they will the employer brand through:
- Advocacy: Word-of-mouth remains the most powerful form of advertising. Satisfied employees will spread the word that your organization is a great place to work.
- Referrals: A formal referral scheme can help you reach candidates that might otherwise not apply. If employees really believe in your employer brand, they will be more likely to refer a friend.
- Online reviews: Your team is more likely to post positive Glassdoor reviews if you offer a great employee experience.
Remember, employer branding also impacts your relationship with your current team. A strong brand will drive engagement, resulting in lower rates of staff turnover.
How does your hiring process work from the candidate’s perspective? Remember, their experience begins the moment they hear about a vacancy, and only ends when they’re fully onboarded. Key elements of this process include:
- Job advertisements: The wording of your vacancy listing plays a crucial role in your employer branding. It’s a chance to talk about your culture, your values, and what you expect from your team.
- Application process: Can people apply with one click through your job portal? Or is it a multi-step process with lots of tedious forms? This experience can set the tone long before you start interviewing.
- Interview process: This is the final stage of employer branding for new candidates. If you have a smooth, quick process with excellent communication, you will establish yourself as an employer of choice. Even unsuccessful candidates will come away with the impression that you are a well-run organization.
Onboarding is the link between the candidate experience and the employee experience. Make sure you have a slick onboarding process to help new hires get settled.
EVP (Employee Value Proposition)
Hiring always comes down to the EVP. If you have a strong proposition, your preferred candidate is likely to accept the offer. A great EVP includes:
- Competitive salary: Candidates don’t always go for the highest salary, but they do expect to be paid fairly. Starting salaries should always be benchmarked against current market averages.
- Relevant benefits: Every candidate has their own unique needs. Your initial offer to candidates should be tailored to those needs. Your benefits offering also needs to adapt to suit the changing needs of your current team.
- Work with a purpose: A sense of purpose is one of the strongest drivers of employee engagement. Part of your EVP is communicating why each job matters, and how each person contributes to the larger strategy.
Remember, the employer value proposition isn’t just the compensation package you offer to new hires. It’s the sum total of what you provide to all employees. It’s what people get out of working for your company—making it the most important part of your employer branding.
Need help with your employer branding?
The importance of employer branding is clear. With a strong employer brand, you can attract and retain great candidates, improve engagement, and build your reputation as an employer.
But it takes hard work and focus. Your HR strategy group and your marketing team will have to collaborate, with lots of support from the CEO's office.
Need some expert help to guide your employer branding? Book a no-obligation consultation call today and let's talk about how you can become an employer of choice.